Neill Blomkamp’s Demonic

People really love to rag on Neil Blomkamp don’t they.. do you think it’s super fun being that miserable? Anyway he has a new horror film out this year called Demonic, his first feature since 2015’s Chappie. People are kind of tearing it apart in reviews, unreasonably so in my opinion because I had an absolute blast with it and one of the most fun time with a horror so far this year. It’s like this sort of odd, multi-genre amalgamation of different tones and ideas, so much so that one can’t really get a proper idea of it from trailers, posters or even word of mouth alone, which means you’re onto something already. It stars the excellent Carly Pope as a troubled woman who is dealing with residual pain of a mother who committed really, really horrible crimes when she was just a kid, and has been institutionalized in a coma ever since. She’s trying her best to forget, until two mysterious sleep tech researchers from a clandestine organization ask her help with a very strange experiment: be put under into REM sleep, enter the unconscious mind of her mother and establish communication within the dream world of both of their subconscious minds, linked via technology that feels simultaneously futuristic and sleek yet retro, analog and VHS themed as well. What are these researchers looking for, you may ask? Well that’s the fun, and that’s all I’ll say about the plot here, it’s a diabolically twisty game of horrors that spill out from the dream world into real life and this girl discovers much, much more about her mother’s state of mind, and whatever else may be in there with her. The film is not only shot but actually (for real this time, not just me stubbornly insisting so) set in and around Vancouver, with some of the story taking place near Kelowna on Lake Okanagan. I’m pretty sure that Blomkamp has seen Panos Cosmatos’s Beyond The Black Rainbow because one of the researchers is played by Vancouver actor Michael Rogers, who was the terrifying antagonist Dr. Barry Nyle in that and there are shades to his performance here that feel directly referential, which was a really nice touch. The film covers a LOT of ground in only 90 minutes, in terms of genre, and maybe it felt too rushed or hectic for some people but I just can’t wrap my head around the negative responses to it. It’s absolutely horrifying in some scenes, incredibly imaginative in an almost tongue in cheek way and stylistically so damn cool, it has the feel of a balls out, conceptually audacious type of horror SciFi flick you’d see in the 90’s. Picture something like The Cell meets The Exorcist meets Virtuosity meets Ghostbusters but still it’s own fiercely original creation. Great film, don’t listen to the haters, see it for yourself and form you own honest opinion. Mine is that it fucking rocks.

-Nate Hill

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